Zuppa di stagione – Zuppa di piselli spezzati con pancetta

I tried many versions of split pea soup and this one is my favorite. You can keep it vegan if you don’t add the pancetta at the end, so it’s versatile. You can use bacon instead of pancetta, or just nothing at all…it’s all up to you. I usually don’t soak peas in water as some people do with legumes to soften them and decrease cooking time. If you don’t add salt to the water, the peas cook quite fast. I blended in this version, but you can serve it unblended too, which adds texture to it.

Thinking about it, soups are my favorite things to eat (along with pasta) and nothing better to eat during cold winter days. This soup is hearty and simple, quite nutritious too. You can serve it with grilled country bread and it’s a meal in itself. Split pea soups are popular in France too (soupe de pois cassés) and cooked with ham (petit salé) or sausage, usually with smoked meat. In Italy smoked meat is not too used (except for regions bordering Austria). So here you can just use your imagination and make your own version of zuppa di piselli spezzati!

Ingredients for 4

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 leek, chopped
  • 1 branch thyme
  • 10.5 oz (or 300 g) split peas
  • broth as needed
  • 2 slices pancetta (optional), diced
  • salt and pepper


In a pot, heat oil, then add onion, soften them add garlic then add the rest of the vegetables and thyme. Cover with broth and let cook at slow heat for about 40 minutes or until the peas are tender. Cook pancetta in a pan until crisp. Adjust with salt and pepper and serve hot with pancetta on top.